Yes, you can go home again

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Unlike a character in a Thomas Wolfe novel, I can go home again.

And I’ll feel welcomed when the move occurs.

Late last year, my wife and I reached a fairly significant decision in our lives…we’re changing addresses.

Built in 1949, the home of Ray and Blanche Bryant in the Pinetops community of Northampton County perhaps wouldn’t land on a list of the most desirable real estate properties in the local area. It’s a simple, shingle-siding home, originally encompassing two bedrooms, a tiny bathroom, kitchen and living room.

I can remember the day when the only heat was a free standing oil heater in the living room. Our air conditioner was a whole house fan that, with your windows open, would draw in air and create a draft through the house.

The floor space has enlarged twice over the years. The first came when “Ma” (my mom’s mother) came to live with us. That addition was a new kitchen and utility room, thus transforming the old kitchen into Ma’s bedroom.

Then came the big addition….a new master bedroom, bathroom, back porch and pantry. Later, after dad retired, came a two-car garage out back, complete with a workshop. Dad twice added on to that building, thus creating lots of additional storage space.

After dad, then mom, passed away over a span of less than four months in 2004, the house sat empty for a short period of time. But the Bryant legacy would continue there as my nephew, Patrick, and his wife, Jennafer, moved in. My great niece, McKenzie, first called that residence as home, thus continuing the family tradition.

With Patrick and Jenn’s family growing thanks to the birth of Laura Grace, they opted to purchase my sister’s (Cindy) home located next door to the homeplace. In turn, Cindy had her furniture hauled a short distance across the yard and moved into the home where she grew-up.

Later this month will mark the one-year anniversary of Cindy’s death following a courageous battle vs. cancer. The homeplace sits empty, its rooms begging for occupancy once again. Neither I nor my brother, Tommy, wanted to sell the place, or did we want to rent it. That train of thought presented Deborah and I with an interesting decision to make.

While we enjoy living on the outskirts of Ahoskie and have done so for 20 years, the thought of moving home was intriguing. After much consideration, plus the promise of my construction-talented brother to spearhead the remodeling effort, we’re moving home.

Each Saturday since January has already been a homecoming of sorts for the Bryant family. I’m blessed to have a brother with such enormous talents when it comes wood, nails, plumbing, paint and electrical work. I struggle to find the correct end of the hammer to handle.

It’s all now beginning to come together. We’ve hit a few unforeseen snags here and there, but that’s to be expected with a 64-year-old house. We’ve painted; fixed snagging and rotten flooring; and are preparing to install new carpet and linoleum flooring. But the biggest treat in this labor of love was Tommy and I being able to peel back the layers of time within the walls where we were raised. Each layer brings back a loving memory of that time in our lives. I’m so glad he’s there to share in what can only be described as going through a time capsule.

Hopefully by the end of April or early May, Deborah and I will have completed the sale of our home here in Hertford County, pack up and move home.

Yep, the old homeplace in Pinetops will spring to life once again. And unlike Wolfe’s character (George Webber) in his book, family and friends back in Northampton County will welcome us home.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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